Reality Check India

Ram Sethu : A question of faith

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on September 13, 2007

Change your names please

seth.jpg

The Congress led UPA government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court which claimed :

Assertion 1 : The ASI said that the Adam’s Bridge is “merely a sand and coral formation which cannot be said to be of historical, archaeological or artistic interest or importance.”

Assertion 2 : today told the Supreme Court that “contents of the Valmiki Ramayana, the Ramcharitamanas by Tulsidas and other mythological texts, which admittedly form an important part of ancient Indian literature… cannot be said to be historical record to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters, or the occurrence of the events, depicted therein.”

Source : IE

This kind of brazenness in an affidavit is completely unbecoming of the government. Nobody asked the ASI to comment on the existence of Ram – they should have restricted themselves to stating whether the Ram Sethu has archeological significance to their organization. 

Step back and ask yourself : What is the issue before us ?  The hindus believe that Rama is God and that the bridge was built by his sena.  Well, the arguments must end there. You just ran into a religious wall. Christians too believe that Jesus could cure lepers by just touching them. We certainly dont want the Archeological Survey of India to question this on medical grounds ! How do we know that Hazratbal Mosque has the prophets hair ? Can the UPA government ask for a DNA test ?

This affidavit and other like these in the days ahead are the produce of the entitlement system without data, which forms the foundation of contemporary Indian society and politics. Read Wahrheit Macht Frei

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32 Responses

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  1. anon said, on September 13, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    What brazenness? They were merely highlighting the scientific basis for the reason behind their statement.

    It doesn’t matter what people believe, that doesn’t make it scientifically true. For example, current science says Jesus does not cure lepers by touching them. Why would you not want to question this on medical grounds? Isn’t it perfectly scientific to do so?

    IMO, there’s no such thing as a “religious wall”. It’s merely put up by believers of faith to defend whatever beliefs they have from questioning. This doesn’t work, as one of the fundamental aspects of about the study of nature (ie, science) is to question every belief, and see if it conforms to experimental observation, logic and reason.

    What’s more, science works, unlike most religious beliefs.

  2. realitycheck said, on September 13, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    >> What brazenness? >>

    Please read my post again.

    Assertion 1 (the ASI’s view of the archeological value) is acceptable.

    What is not acceptable is Assertion 2 ! No one asked the ASI’s opinion about the characters in the Ramayana.

    >> IMO, there’s no such thing as a “religious wall”. >>

    Its a metaphor. You can subject any religious belief to scientific analysis as a private individual or organization. A secular state has no business passing judgement about religious beliefs in the form of an affidavit before the supreme court.

    I would not have a problem is Dinamani or Outlook exposed holes in the Ramayana. I just wouldnt patronize those magazines and move on. In fact, there are quite a few publications which have made vulgar caricatures in the past.

  3. anon said, on September 14, 2007 at 4:08 am

    >>What is not acceptable is Assertion 2 ! No one asked the ASI’s opinion about the characters in the Ramayana<>Its a metaphor. You can subject any religious belief to scientific analysis as a private individual or organization. A secular state has no business passing judgement about religious beliefs in the form of an affidavit before the supreme court.<<

    Yes, a state cannot say stuff like “Rama did not exist”. However, in my opinion, this is not what the ASI did.

    When religious beliefs tend to contradict current scientific data when making a decision on matter of national policy, it’s the responsibility of the government to ensure that the decision is made rationally, and not based on faith based beliefs.

    Assertion 2 which the ASI made is a perfectly valid statement. It doesn’t pass “judgement” about religious beliefs, but merely points out that religious texts cannot be used “to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters, or the occurrence of the events, depicted therein”. That’s a perfectly valid, scientific statement isn’t it?

  4. Jai_Choorakkot said, on September 14, 2007 at 6:08 am

    RC,

    Was a bit surprised too, at that ‘religious wall, no more argument’ thing. I thought you were deliberately trying to provoke observations on the lines of this below:

    “Backward /oppressed’ communities make up the large majority somehow of our population, totalling I have heard upto 95.7%?!!! in some cases. Their belief in their backwardness therefore commands respect, a ‘wall of belief in self-insufficiency’ if you will.

    Your response to anon above both clears up and confuses (based on my assumption of what you were trying to do). Tell me frankly, is this what you wanted to get going here 🙂

    regards,
    Jai

  5. Ram Sethu for dummies « Reality Check India said, on September 14, 2007 at 6:38 am

    […] Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on the September 14th, 2007 Some people who read my previous article raised some basic questions about the […]

  6. realitycheck said, on September 14, 2007 at 6:51 am

    Jai,

    The ASI can only comment on the archeological significance of a given natural formation or a man made artifact. They have no business passing a comment on religious characters and events. It must be remembered that the ASI is not an independent body but a wing of the Ministry of Culture headed by Ambika Soni. Therefore, this affidavit passing comments on a religious belief is against the character of a secular state.

    The ‘religious wall’ refers to the fact that you cannot raise scientific arguments against deeply held faiths.

    You are absolutely right about the ‘belief in being backward’ point. You can showcase facts and figures, but you cant control how people percieve themselves. The role of the government then is to balance the ‘perceived backwardness’ of various claimant groups against ‘demonstrable backwardness’ shown by various other claimant groups. This is where data comes into the picture.

  7. Revathi said, on September 14, 2007 at 7:47 am

    There have been a number of protests all over the world when the Buddha statues in Afghanistan were destroyed. What the afghani govt does with its statues is ofcourse its own business- so, if the Indian govt wants, it can ofcourse bulldoze Ram Sethu claiming economic advantage.
    What does it gain in return? It gains the ill will of a large number of people who believe in Ram and doubtful economic returns and a fairly large ecological damage (as per other published articles). I hear that the dredging should be continual – I cant think of anything more wasteful.

  8. anon said, on September 14, 2007 at 11:44 am

    RC,

    There’s something which you’re misrepresenting, or I’m misunderstanding, so it’d be nice if you could clarify.

    You say,

    “The ASI can only comment on the archeological significance of a given natural formation or a man made artifact. They have no business passing a comment on religious characters and events.”

    However, what the ASI did is to comment on the significance of a natural formation!

    You’ve quoted Assertion 2 out of context. The reason the ASI made this remark, is because the petitioners were contending that the bridge was built by an army of monkeys. The ASI were merely stating that the Ramayana cannot be used as a basis for such claims, because it does not necessarily document historical events accurately. They did not say that Rama did not exist!

    I still don’t understand why you claim that the ASI is acting brazenly, when all they did, was to categorically emphasis the current scientific evidence, and the fact that religious texts cannot be used as a valid reference for historical events.

  9. K Mahesh said, on September 15, 2007 at 5:05 am

    Following the logic of anon ,who knows, that after a period of 400+ years the people might require a solid proof to believe that great statesmen like Gandhi,Patel,Nehru,Bose,Rajaji,Lal-Bal-Pal etc. actually had existed here.

  10. anon said, on September 15, 2007 at 5:18 am

    Mr Mahesh,

    That’s s very poor analogy. In the latter case, we have documented and factual evidence in terms of signed letters, images, television clips, family tree analysis, DNA testing, etc. Further, none of their activities contradicted scientific understanding. On the contrary, building a bridge using monkeys certainly does. There’s no other way to believe the claims in the Ramayana other than by faith, and so, it shouldn’t be used in a major policy decision.

    Besides, that is not the point of my question in the para above.

  11. realitycheck said, on September 15, 2007 at 5:40 am

    Anon,

    Like provocation, brazenness cannot be measured.

    Congress leader Salman Kursheed told a TV channel yesterday. “Why are you guys so worked up over a government affidavit ? Dont you have faith in Rama ? ” This is the same as saying : “Just ignore this letter, Rama is much larger than that. Surely, Ram (if he exists) wont be bothered by this letter”. This could also be considered brazen. By the same token, “Allah exists everywhere, why cry over a stupid mosque, Is this your level of faith in him ?”.

    So, lets agree that you have a higher personal bar for what you might consider brazen.

    So we are left with : Is the statement appropriate or even required in the affidavit ?”

    You are correct, the petitioners contend that they believe Ram Sethu was constructed by some characters. However, that is the issue in front of the COURT not in front of the ASI.

    Neither the “characters” not the “events” are under consideration. This is a completely gratuitous comment tacked on to the primary points. It is one step removed from tagging on something like “It is sad that in the 21st century some people believe in monkeys and bear stories when it comes issues of national import”. It is only a difference of degree.

    I understand the anxiety of atheists. The right way to pursue their agenda is to organize events like “atheism awareness week” or to make “movies and propaganda material repudiating the hindu icons”. You cannot use a government body (the ASI comes under the culture ministry) to do that.

    Either that or we can remove the word “secular government” completely from the Indian dictionary. We can then fasten our seat belts when the next BJP government takes control.

  12. Revathi said, on September 15, 2007 at 7:24 am

    Any way the latest news is that sonia has saved Ram from extinction. I dont know how the BJP willl handle that..

  13. anon said, on September 15, 2007 at 7:38 am

    RC,

    Thanks for the conversation. Now, I’m able to understand where our differences lie.

    You say,
    “I understand the anxiety of atheists. The right way to pursue their agenda is to organize events like “atheism awareness week” or to make “movies and propaganda material repudiating the hindu icons”. You cannot use a government body (the ASI comes under the culture ministry) to do that.”

    And that’s where we differ. Atheism has nothing whatsoever to do with Assertion 2. The point is, as a scientific institution (even if it’s a government body), the ASI is upholding its scientific integrity by categorically stating the obvious, ie, religious texts cannot be used as a source for historical accuracy, especially when faced with scientific evidence to the contrary. Simple as that. In my opinion, that’s perfectly commendable.

    There’s no “agenda” for “atheists” to pursue, as you put it. Religion never even enters the picture from the ASI’s point of view. Only science, and they’re doing a good job of upholding the scientific integrity of our country.

    With that, I think we’ll agree to disagree. Agreed?

  14. Gaurav said, on September 15, 2007 at 9:16 am

    “religious texts cannot be used as a source for historical accuracy”

    Denying existence is going beyond accuracy methinks. Anyway historical accuracy is almost an oxymoron.

  15. anon said, on September 15, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Gaurav,

    “Denying existence is going beyond accuracy methinks. Anyway historical accuracy is almost an oxymoron.”

    At the risk of being repetitive, the ASI DID NOT deny the existence of Rama. For example of why the Ramayana cannot be used a historical source, and what can, do check out Sujai’s brilliant (atleast, in my opinion) post. He covers pretty much what I want to say, albeit, much more eloquently.

    http://sujaiblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/abc-of-ram-sethu.html

  16. Gaurav said, on September 15, 2007 at 10:48 am

    “At the risk of being repetitive, the ASI DID NOT deny the existence of Rama”

    Yes it did.

    If Sujai is the same “mild-manned” gentleman that I am thinking he is, I will let the opportunity pass.

  17. suresh said, on September 15, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Anon wrote:

    “When religious beliefs tend to contradict current scientific data when making a decision on matter of national policy, it’s the responsibility of the government to ensure that the decision is made rationally, and not based on faith based beliefs.”

    What is a “rational decision”? If millions of people believe – wrong as it may be – that the Rama setu. was built by monkeys and for religious reasons, should not be tampered with, then what is wrong with deciding to honour that sentiment? What is “irrational” about it?

    Btw, if the government does decide to let religious sentiment be a factor in making this particular decision, then this will not be the only such instance. If you walk down Janpath in New Delhi, then you will see an intrusion into the road between Western Court and Hotel Janpath. That intrusion happens to be a Muslim shrine. Arguably, “rationality” [concern for road safety] would dictate that the shrine be relocated. Yet, it has not been done and I would guess that this is purely on grounds of “respecting religious sentiment.”

    The example I have given is a Muslim shrine but I am sure readers will readily supply other examples involving Hindu or other religious shrines. The point, simply, is this: Whether we [the elite, those with access to internet etc. ] like it or not, religion does mean a lot to many of our fellow countrywomen and countrymen. A decision which while justifiable on other “rational” grounds but is not undertaken solely on “religious grounds” cannot simply be dismissed as being “irrational.” In a very different context, you can see this in some of the drama over the use of stem cells. Perhaps when our country reaches that state of nirvana (sorry for the religious imagery) when all or most of us are atheists, this discussion would become irrelevant, but for the moment, unfortunately, that is not the case.

    To clarify, I am not arguing either for or against the Sethusamudram project. I am arguing against the presumption that to let religious faith be a factor (may not be the only one) in decision making is somehow “irrational.”

  18. anon said, on September 15, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Gaurav,

    “Yes it did.”

    No it didn’t

    Suresh,

    “What is a “rational decision”? If millions of people believe – wrong as it may be – that the Rama setu. was built by monkeys and for religious reasons, should not be tampered with, then what is wrong with deciding to honour that sentiment? What is “irrational” about it?”

    A rational decision is one which is based on scientific principles. Since the belief that the bridge was built by monkeys doesn’t have a shred of scientific evidence, it clearly is irrational.

    ” If you walk down Janpath in New Delhi, then you will see an intrusion into the road between Western Court and Hotel Janpath. That intrusion happens to be a Muslim shrine. Arguably, “rationality” [concern for road safety] would dictate that the shrine be relocated. Yet, it has not been done and I would guess that this is purely on grounds of “respecting religious sentiment.””

    That’s again a poor analogy. One hand, you’re looking at a decision of national policy where the main argument seems to be based on faith and in contradiction to scientific evidence, and the other example is a mosque on a road. If the mosque truly does pose a significant hazard, and you’ve got statistical evidence to back that claim, then the best thing to do is to relocate it.

    You say,
    “Whether we [the elite, those with access to internet etc. ] like it or not, religion does mean a lot to many of our fellow countrywomen and countrymen. A decision which while justifiable on other “rational” grounds but is not undertaken solely on “religious grounds” cannot simply be dismissed as being “irrational.”

    I disagree. When a decision is based solely on religious grounds, where there is scientific evidence which clearly contradicts the religious belief, then the decision should be based on the latter source.

    I really don’t understand why one needs to be an atheist to appreciate this decision. In my opinion, the situation is quite clear. If you have two contradictory sources, one based on scientific evidence and the other based on religious beliefs, then one doesn’t need to be an atheist to see that we should base our decision on science.

  19. suresh said, on September 15, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    A rational decision is one which is based on scientific principles.

    What does this mean anyway? You think invoking the word “scientific” is some sort of mantra that makes you invulnerable to criticism?

    Since the belief that the bridge was built by monkeys doesn’t have a shred of scientific evidence, it clearly is irrational.

    What clearly is irrational? I presume what you mean is fhe following: “The decision to not undertake the Sethusamudram project because some believe that it was built by monkeys is irrational. It is irrational because there is no scientific evidence for such a claim.”

    The point is that the decision to undertake or not undertake the Sethusamudram project is a political one, not a scientific one and that makes a difference See below.

    If you have two contradictory sources, one based on scientific evidence and the other based on religious beliefs, then one doesn’t need to be an atheist to see that we should base our decision on science.

    *sigh* Please don’t invoke Science in places where it doesn’t belong. The decision to undertake (or not) the Sethusamudram project is a political decision taken by our political institutions. It is not a scientific decision. Now many things go into taking a political decision – science (ecological impact, technical feasibility and so on) , economics (cost/benefits) and I would argue, other things also like religious faith. I am simply arguing against those who say that religious faith should have no place whatsoever in such decisions. I think that is unrealistic simply because faith is an important part of the lives of most of our countrywomen and countrymen.

    Your argument is that since the religious beliefs in this particular case are not supported by any scientific evidence, these beliefs can be ignored as a factor in decision-making. I don’t agree. As I said, the decision is political: ignoring religious sentiments (whether or not supported by scientific evidence) can be dangerous and lead to political problems down the line. So just on pragmatic grounds, we would be well-advised to take such sentiments seriously. This does not mean that we allow religious sentiments to have some sort of a veto, just that we take them seriously. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the society we live in.

    I am reminded of the story that our Independence Day was originally scheduled to coincide with that of Pakistan, August 14, 1947. It was rejected because the astrologers – believe it or not! – strongly felt that was a most inauspicious day. More to the point, many in the Congress party believed in astrology. So, the very “rational”, atheist Jawaharlal Nehru forged a compromise and that is how we ended up with our famous “Freedom at Midnight.” Was the decision to have our Independence Day at midnight on August 14/15 on astrological grounds “rational” or “scientific”? I would think not, but it was a compromise given the nature of our society. That is the sort of thing I am talking about. You cannot ignore the nature of our society by invoking the magic word “Science.”

    I suspect you won’t agree. You sound – if I may say so – like one of those (ubiquitous in Indian academia and the blogosphere) who thinks “Science” is the ultimate answer to everything. Fine, let us agree to disagree. Lastly, the mosque example was simply to show that religious sentiment has always been a factor in government decision making. I was not making any analogy with the Sethusamudram project. I should have thought that was clear enough.

    My last words on the subject. I leave it to you to have the last word.

  20. anon said, on September 15, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    >>”What does this mean anyway? You think invoking the word “scientific” is some sort of mantra that makes you invulnerable to criticism?”<>”What clearly is irrational? I presume what you mean is fhe following: “The decision to not undertake the Sethusamudram project because some believe that it was built by monkeys is irrational. It is irrational because there is no scientific evidence for such a claim.””<>The point is that the decision to undertake or not undertake the Sethusamudram project is a political one, not a scientific one and that makes a difference See below.<>Please don’t invoke Science in places where it doesn’t belong. The decision to undertake (or not) the Sethusamudram project is a political decision taken by our political institutions. It is not a scientific decision. Now many things go into taking a political decision – science (ecological impact, technical feasibility and so on) , economics (cost/benefits)<>other things also like religious faith. I am simply arguing against those who say that religious faith should have no place whatsoever in such decisions. I think that is unrealistic simply because faith is an important part of the lives of most of our countrywomen and countrymen.<>As I said, the decision is political: ignoring religious sentiments (whether or not supported by scientific evidence) can be dangerous and lead to political problems down the line. So just on pragmatic grounds, we would be well-advised to take such sentiments seriously. This does not mean that we allow religious sentiments to have some sort of a veto, just that we take them seriously. <>I am reminded of the story that our Independence Day was originally scheduled to coincide with that of Pakistan, August 14, 1947. It was rejected because the astrologers – believe it or not! – strongly felt that was a most inauspicious day. More to the point, many in the Congress party believed in astrology. So, the very “rational”, atheist Jawaharlal Nehru forged a compromise and that is how we ended up with our famous “Freedom at Midnight.” Was the decision to have our Independence Day at midnight on August 14/15 on astrological grounds “rational” or “scientific”? I would think not, but it was a compromise given the nature of our society. That is the sort of thing I am talking about. You cannot ignore the nature of our society by invoking the magic word “Science.”<>You sound – if I may say so – like one of those (ubiquitous in Indian academia and the blogosphere) who thinks “Science” is the ultimate answer to everything.<<

    Nah, I don’t think Science is the answer to everything. In fact, as you may have heard, the answer is 42 🙂

  21. anon said, on September 15, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Ah, the formatting is messed up. Please do delete the above comment. I’ll repost it in proper format.

    “What does this mean anyway? You think invoking the word “scientific” is some sort of mantra that makes you invulnerable to criticism?”

    No, but crucially, decisions made from scientific principles are experimentally verifiable and valid. Anyone can say that Jesus walked on water, and that doesn’t mean he did. However, if science says that throw a ball up and it’ll fall down, you can experimentally verify it yourself. This is why the scientific method is of great value. You can criticize it all you want, but it still works.

    “What clearly is irrational? I presume what you mean is fhe following: “The decision to not undertake the Sethusamudram project because some believe that it was built by monkeys is irrational. It is irrational because there is no scientific evidence for such a claim.””

    Yes, that’s what I meant.

    The point is that the decision to undertake or not undertake the Sethusamudram project is a political one, not a scientific one and that makes a difference See below.

    Yes, it’s a political decision . However the ASI is also a scientific institution and their responsibility is to provide factual scientific advice, and that’s what they did.

    Please don’t invoke Science in places where it doesn’t belong. The decision to undertake (or not) the Sethusamudram project is a political decision taken by our political institutions. It is not a scientific decision. Now many things go into taking a political decision – science (ecological impact, technical feasibility and so on) , economics (cost/benefits)

    I agree to the above. Each of the fields above, have a basis in science, and involve rational thinking.

    other things also like religious faith. I am simply arguing against those who say that religious faith should have no place whatsoever in such decisions. I think that is unrealistic simply because faith is an important part of the lives of most of our countrywomen and countrymen.

    I disagree with this. Religion has no significance in making a decision when it is in CONTRADICTION to science. Even if a million people believe that the Earth was created 6000 years ago, as a matter of national policy, we don’t teach that in government schools (yet). Faith can play an important role in personal lives. However, in my opinion, it plays absolutely no role in making decisions on national policy, especially in the face of scientific evidence.

    As I said, the decision is political: ignoring religious sentiments (whether or not supported by scientific evidence) can be dangerous and lead to political problems down the line. So just on pragmatic grounds, we would be well-advised to take such sentiments seriously. This does not mean that we allow religious sentiments to have some sort of a veto, just that we take them seriously.

    I understand what you’re saying, but I disagree here. In my opinion, rather than allowing religious sentiments to have a veto, we must inform people WHY the decision is made, and educate them on the principles of science. However, in Indian politics, there is never going to be an individual who does this in the foreseeable future.

    I am reminded of the story that our Independence Day was originally scheduled to coincide with that of Pakistan, August 14, 1947. It was rejected because the astrologers – believe it or not! – strongly felt that was a most inauspicious day. More to the point, many in the Congress party believed in astrology. So, the very “rational”, atheist Jawaharlal Nehru forged a compromise and that is how we ended up with our famous “Freedom at Midnight.” Was the decision to have our Independence Day at midnight on August 14/15 on astrological grounds “rational” or “scientific”? I would think not, but it was a compromise given the nature of our society. That is the sort of thing I am talking about. You cannot ignore the nature of our society by invoking the magic word “Science.”

    In fact, one doesn’t need to go so far back. After all, our distinguished president has claimed to have spoken to a dead person! When does this end? As a society, we MUST make an effort to move away from superstitions, and ensure that the decisions of national interest are made rationally. In that direction, I believe that the statement of the ASI is to be lauded.

    “You sound – if I may say so – like one of those (ubiquitous in Indian academia and the blogosphere) who thinks “Science” is the ultimate answer to everything.”

    Nah, I don’t think Science is the answer to everything. In fact, as you may have heard, the answer is 42 🙂

  22. Barbarindian said, on September 15, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    A rational decision is one which is based on scientific principles.

    A rational decision is based on economic principles, not scientific ones. As a matter of fact, many rational ideas are based on religious principles. Concept of rationality can not be separated from religion. Example: incest. You could argue from the genetic angle but science has provided us with condoms. Easy sex, stays within family, no hangups. Great idea?

    As an illustration, consider the case of a fictitious Chaku Baba. In his former life he was a matric fail. He practiced swallowing a knife and reappeared as Chaku Baba. Now his Ashram is flocked by devotees and our Baba leads a good life. Would you call the actions of Chaku Baba rational or irrational?

    Perhaps you will say science does not accept superstitions. You will call for making Babagiri illegal. Great. Question is, will you extend it to all such Babas? Sai Baba, Machli Baba etc. not withstanding – how about Pirs, Fakirs, Priests, Padres, Mullahs and Maulahvis? Science denies the idea of God. Why not destroy all religious shrines then? Chaku Baba will immediately demand his rights to equality.

    See, then it evolves or devolves into a constitutional argument. As soon as that happens, all hell breaks loose.

    As a matter of fact, religion is based on science and game theory. It is clear that in our esteemed democracy, if you are numerically inferior, you will get your ass kicked. Religion (or identity otherwise) offers the only relief. Recent cases in point: Sikhs (narrowly averted a sick cult created by Congress), Gujjars (want ST status).

    Unless you make the following amendment to 51A, destruction of Ram Setu is illegal per standard interpretations of the constitution:

    The state shall reserve unlimited rights to appropriate and destroy religious structures or symbols if it provides for greater good. The state shall not be expected to provide clear economic validity and the life story of cabinet ministers shall apply.

  23. realitycheck said, on September 16, 2007 at 8:06 am

    >> See, then it evolves or devolves into a constitutional argument. As soon as that happens, all hell breaks loose. >>

    Bravo !! Barb.

    I am not sure if enough Indians have opened their minds enough to explore your analogy.

    The proponents of the project will likely avoid any scientific or economic analysis of the project itself. Does this remind you of another area where science and statistics are shunned in favour of life stories ?

    Religion and Science are not fundamentally incompatible. Ramanujan was deeply religious – so were most others. Conversely, Rationalism and Science need not always be compatible. Why do rationalist governments not rely purely on socio-economic data for their public policies ? Why does PC think that oppression was 5000-10000 year old story – when the Harappa ruins are only 3000 years old ? Why do MPs mention Ekalavya in Parliament ? Where is the historical evidence for the Aryan invasion ? Why are KE, KA, AP not interested in this theory ? Anyone wants science here – because this is being used in the area of public policy.

    This issue is simple :

    The officials in the ASI are paid to do their job. They are free to state the archeological insignificance of the Ram Sethu. If they wanted to pass a general comment on the value of literature vs historical events. They should have worded it neutrally like so : “In general, literature cannot be used to validate or to invalidate the existance of characters or the occurance of events” They selectively mentioned Rama / Ram Charit Manas and paid for it.

  24. Kumar said, on September 19, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Hey Anon,

    There’s no scientific evidence that virgins can give birth to babies. Whether immaculate conception is real or Maryji had something on side going on, it’s all matter of faith. It’s just like we don’t know how Moses could part the Red Sea. Or Jesus could walk on the Sea of Gallie or feed a tribe with one loaf and fish.I still wonder how burning bushes could talk to jews or how Mohammed could ascend to heaven via the dome of Al Aqsa mosque.
    It’s all matter of faith.

    Now we know that Karunanidhi is a Ravan fan,but any scientific proof that Ravan existed? It boggles mind to keep up with logic of these fellows.

    However the ASI is also a scientific institution and their responsibility is to provide factual scientific advice, and that’s what they did
    Sorry, once there was a point in time when people didn’t believe in existence of Dwarka. ASI then worked in the area and uncovered the sumberged city of Dwarka. The proof and the pudding delivered here.

    Why not at Setu? What kind of work was done Setu to prove or disapprove here? ASI (handful stooges) seem to have an opinion WITHOUT any archealogical expedition in the area? Dr Rao of ASI who unearthed Dwarka effort himself has come out with statments that the amount of work done by ASI in Setu area is ZILCH.

    Also, why did this UPA govt also dump the Saraswati project in 2004? On one hand they stop the excavations/studies and then claim “where’s the proof?”

    Hey while on science, anyone proven that the strand of hair in Kashmir at Hazratbal actually belong to Mohammed.
    Remember we almost went to war on this once.

    If ASI’s word is gospel truth, why not take their findings of a temple like structure under masjid? Any takers here? Not? None? Didn’t think so.

    Conveninent science huh?

  25. Kumar said, on September 19, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    And on Sujai’s blog – has more holes than the proverbial swiss cheese.
    Not worth time or effort. You can’t wake up someone pretending to be asleep.

  26. Revathi said, on September 25, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    I dont understand the role of science in the whole affair. The only scientific conclusion seems to be a negative one- not made by monkeys. Ok, this is the starting point. What about the rest? Has the ecosystem been studied? Have the implications for the flora and fauna in this region been identified? If you take Ramayana itself, you see that Ram first decided to dry up the ocean using his spiritual/muscle power and the ocean asked him not to harm the beings that live within and asked him to take a more environmentally compatible view and he followed the advice of the ocean irrespective of the fact that he as an incarnation of vishnu could indeed have done otherwise. At that point in time, the best solution was to build this bridge (as per the ramayana). He chose the slow route despite burning concerns (wife in the hands of a monster). Can we learn something from Rama’s experience other than a parrot like repetition about the sanctity of the site?

  27. realitycheck said, on September 25, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    >> I dont understand the role of science in the whole affair. >>

    Funny you ask.

    Scientists here are too attached to the results on this issue. Believe it or not, if you ask some for an expedition, the response is “Whats the point ? Even if we prove that the whole thing is natural geology (or) there are no bridge structures underwater. Isnt religion still going to win ?”

    Perhaps, the ASI took a wild guess and filed an affidavit. Whats the difference ? The issue is treated as fait accompli.

  28. […] hin, dass die Brücke wegen göttlicher Intervention errichtet wurde – die Regierung behauptet das Gegenteil, die Blogger des Landes kommentieren vor allem die eidesstattliche Erklärung der […]

  29. sneha said, on October 2, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    i trust supreme court, and the deciision made by it in the present case of ram sethu.. is really sad and foolishness, but as a law student i would say its right because the case is been decided by the evidences and proofs…

  30. sneha said, on October 2, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    i trust supreme court, and the deciision made by it in the present case of ram sethu.. is really sad and foolishness coz i do belive in lord rama and ramayana.., but as a law student i would say its right because the case is been decided by the evidences and proofs… but lord rama is supreme and no one can vhange this fact not even the fool govt..
    lord rama bless allll of us…..

  31. Sandeep said, on October 2, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    First of all, our, humans that is, senses r limited. How can we pass a judgement on someone who is extraordinary and who is beyond d understandings of our intellect? I feel it’s totally lame to pass the judgement merely based on evidence and proof. For an example, can a person question his late Grand father’s exsitence and deny d fact of his existence just because he does not live in the present time? If u think the development of our country is overpowered by the sentiments of religion, then i guess the government should instantly start considering the fact that there are hell lot of under development villages unattended which are overcome by poverty…..MAY LORD RAM bless all….

  32. K Jayakumar P Menon said, on October 5, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    Rama and Ramayana and Ramasethu are the religious belief of the HINDUS all around the world. UPA Govt. or its petty puny agents does not have any right to question and or even to talk about any religious belief practicing in India by any number of people. If we cannot stop them going further who do you think will help us if they question about our existence, and about our great grand fathers.

    a MAD idea of a MAD government trying to implement by the help of a MAD minority group supporting this MADness.

    There is another good IDEA by killing all poor people living in India, including myself and my family, the UPA can GOVERN a rich India. They can do whatever they want to. Nothing wrong in making an attempt sometimes the ASI will help find archeological reasons to do so.


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